A running reverend will take himself ‘‘out of his comfort zone’’ when he tackles a prestigious and gruelling 26-mile road race to raise awareness and funds for a cancer charity.

Rev Rod Reid, 38, of The Deanery, Bocking, is running in this year’s London Marathon for the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity and is already less than £300 away from achieving his £4,000 target.

The St Mary’s Church priest, who recently led Prodigy singer Keith Flint’s high-profile funeral ceremony, decided to enter the world-famous race following an urge to challenge himself more physically and after taking an interest in the Essex-based charity.

Rod said: ‘‘Last Autumn, I decided I really wanted to challenge myself in 2019 and to take myself right out of my comfort zone.

‘‘Then at a similar time I contacted the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity to find out more about the work they do and through talking to them, the possibility of the London Marathon first came up.’’

After somewhat flippantly sending off his application with little expectation or hope of receiving a successful response, to his surprise, an elated Rod was offered a place at the Greenwich startline alongside more than 40,000 other entrants. But then the hard work had to begin.

‘‘I started training in October and it has been a case of slowly building and chalking up those miles ever since,” he said.

‘‘I have a few more long runs to go and then will ease down to the big day.

‘‘It has had its moments though – not least those horrible, dark and cold mornings out running ten miles, which I won’t miss when it is all over, but with just a few weeks to go I am really looking forward to it.’’

Rod has since visited one of Helen Rollason’s support centres, witnessing first-hand not only the impact the charity has on those living with or affected by cancer, but also the importance of public contributions and awareness-raising endeavours.

He said: ‘‘They are so reliant on our support and fundraising and it really makes a difference to what they can offer.

‘‘It really is amazing work and I encourage us all to support what they do.’’

This year’s Virgin London Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 28.

You can donate to Reverend Rod Reid’s fundraiser by visiting mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/rodreid1